Quick hand-wavy overview here.
There are many types of magic, each with their own limitations/strengths.
Each type of magic is its own skill, generally, which governs:
- Maximum spell level (in a D&D sense) of a spell that can be cast. We need to work Aura into this somehow, as well. In a non-uber, all PCs can not be gods type way.
- Magical theory regarding that sphere of knowledge.
Magic Skills are all chained. that meaning, you must reach 95+ in a skill in order to open the next skill. Most Magic skills require training. General Breakdown:
- Apprentice Casting
Cantrips through sparkling lights, things that make noise, and mild shocks. All casters start here. Roughly equivalent to D&D levels 0 through the low-end of 3.
- Journeyman Casting
The vast majority of casters will never progress past this skill. It roughly represents the top of D&D level 3 through the low end of 6th . Some 6th level effects will get bumped up to the next skill. Fireball would be in Journeyman.
The rare mage has the temperance, discipline and mentors necessary to reach this level of knowledge. It represents the top end of D&D level 6 through to level 8. Some level 8 effects might get bumped up.
Representing the top end of D&D’s magic, the truly potent and scary magic is cast by those with this skill.
Its here just to cap out the system. Is a PC or game-relevant NPC ever going to get this? No, not likely. Think of what happened to Xen’drik; it goes here.
Standard Template D&D Magic:
- Has no associated skill. Piety points are expended to acquire a spell.
- 8 Schools of Magic
- Each school is its own Skill, which provides theory for that school, and ‘neighboring’ schools.
- Druidic Magic
- A skill for each Elemental mastery: Earth/Air/Fire/Water
- A skill for each Kingdom: Beasts/Thorns (or other names for animals and plants)
- Eberron: Vvaraak’s school of Druidic anti-aberration/outside magic is its own school which overlaps Abjuration
- Sorcery Magic
- One skill, but provides no theory. Provides other inheritance-based magic stuff. Perhaps access to easier, long-duration, personal buffs?
- Bardic Magic
- Overlaps Wizardly Illusion
- Artificer Magic
- Artifice covers theory, and maximum spell level. Schematics and Infusions. Some infusions can be used on existing constructs, some on mundane items. Schematics allow for new item creation.
If you can define a good descriptive that isn’t universal, then there is likely a mage somewhere that casts it.
Ideas: Shadow magic, Swamp magic, Storm casting, Wind singing